Planning woe firm escapes punishment

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A COMPANY that has been operating with the wrong planning consent in place for five years is set to avoid punishment.

The city council launched enforcement action against Cheque Centres Limited in May because it should have gained consent for a change of use to financial services instead of retail at its unit in Portobello High Street.

Councillors are now due to consider a retrospective planning application for the change to “class two” financial services use next Wednesday.

Council planning officials have recommended that the retrospective application is approved, despite the change meaning that more than one third of the units in the block would be non-retail.

They said that the unit manages to attract an annual footfall of 1500 customers and ruled that it is “a viable business with a demonstrated demand and contributes to the vitality of the town centre”.